Catalonia referendum: What region wants to leave Spain?

Catalonia referendum

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Why does the referendum matter?

Catalonia, the region of 7.5 million people in northeastern Spain, has 15 percent of Spain’s population and 20 percent of its economic production.

About 1.6 million people live in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, which is the main tourist destination.

Sunday’s voting will be the second public referendum on Independence in three years.

In November 2014, the previous voting, non-binding voting, 80 percent of the independence of the independent Catalonia state returned, however, more than 5.4 million eligible voters took part.

The Spanish government rejected General Secretary, the Catalonia regional government. Because it was unconstitutional that binding voting proposals to be held. They take the same place on Sunday’s vote.


Who can vote, will vote, and how?

Only voter cast voters are entitled to participate in the referendum.

According to a survey conducted by a regional daily newspaper, El Periodando de Cartelu, 85 percent of people are in favor of occupying the referendum.

However, 41 percent of the people said that they intend to vote “yes” for independence by the Central Government through opinion polls, a regional voting body of the Central Government in June this year.

A number of pro-union cutlans are expected to boycott voting because the referendum is illegal.

Professor Luis Oriolos Galve of Madrid’s Carlos III University of Politics, told Aljazira that despite the interruptions expected by the Spanish authorities, many people could take part in the voting.

“There will be major problems in the region to prevent public opinion. The state will not be able to control the entire region. But it will try to prevent it from happening in important areas like Barcelona,” he said.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Kulau Balna, despite having himself opposed to independence, has signed an agreement with the regional government to allow voting in the city.


Why independence? Or why not?

Catalonia has a different history, culture and language.

In the first 12th century, Catalonia’s predominant region existed for more than 250 years. Before it joined Spain during the country’s formation in the 16th century.

As such, identities play a big role in the discussion surrounding independence.

Under the military government of Francisco Franco, since 1939-1975, the culture of Catalan suppressed.

Katell identification symbols such as casts, or human towers, were forbidden. And parents forced to choose Spanish names for their children.

Lecturer Sergi Meiner in the University of Edinburgh’s Catalan culture says that. The Catalan language (which also spoken in the Valencia and Balearic Islands) was also banned.

“Public on Franco’s Catalan banned, the publication was controlled under censorship, only one official language after the democracy Castellion,” he told al-Jazeera.

“There was oppression everywhere in Spain, but there more persecution in Catalonia.”

However, support for the independence of Catalan is not universal.

“It is a false referendum and many feel that if there is no legal guarantee, then it is not better to vote”, President of Curtuana Somos Todos, Jorge Amado. Who is out of the region, is a pro-union organization for the catalans (eligible to vote Not), al-Jazeera said to them

“It’s manipulations. To promote the organizers of history, media, and Catalan people, to promote that sense that Catalonia can not united with Spain.”


Do Catalans really want independence? 

Pro-independence supporters have certainly demonstrated in favor of isolation. On September 11, one million people came out to Barcelona for the national day.

Opinion polling is difficult but a clear indication before the referendum came in July. When a public survey commissioned by the Catalan government suggests that 41% in favor and 49% opposed to independence.

We know that 2.2 million voters supported independence in the previous vote in November 2014. And Junas Pale Si (together for yes), with the support of a radical leftist party, QP, coalition of different parties won 48%, voting in the 2015 election.


Why now?

In recent years, the goal for complete autonomy seems to have progressed, especially due to Spain’s 2008 debt crisis.

“At that time, the people of Catalonia demanded their voluntary government. And should control what done with their money,” said Oriolex.

Pro-independence supporters claim that Catalonia, one of Spain’s richest regions, gives Spain more financial support than the money received from the central government in Madrid.

Many people see this region’s strong economy as an indicator that it will be operating as a sovereign state.

Following the Spanish Constitutional Court verdict in 2010. Which says that there is no legal basis for the recognition of Catalonia as a nation, independence seems to have opted for a part of the population of this region.

“Because of past experience, instead of demanding state reform, they began to support independence,” said Oriolas.


How is Spain reacting?

Following the Spanish government’s appeal, the Spanish Constitutional Court. After the day it announced, ordered the adjournment of a public opinion. Which claimed that the public would break the constitution of the country.

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 ordered that the country was indivisible. And gave special powers to the national government to save the referendum.

According to Orioles, most of the Spaniards outside Catalonia, about 70 percent of the people, oppose the referendum.

Spanish Prime Minister Marianne Rajzee has labeled the scheme “unbearable act of disobedience” and pledged to do everything in its power to stop voting from it.

Spanish authorities arrested 14 Catalan officials, including the regional government’s junior economist Josh Maria Jov, in recent weeks.

Officials have conducted a number of raids, entered local government offices and confiscated publicity material, including 10 million ballot papers.

The states stated in a statement on September 20 that “the government is fulfilling its responsibility [to abide by the judicial verdict], and I have to say that we will do this by the end.”

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont played Madrid on “May 21” in a televised address saying “we hate and reject anti-democracy and unilateral action in Spanish state.”

Spanish ruler, King Felipe VI, declared any attempt to disperse the Spanish constitution to the country “must prevail”.


What powers does Catalonia already have?

In 1931, when Spain became a republic, Catalonia given more political autonomy within the state’s sphere.

However, by 1939, after the nationalists’ victory in the Spanish Civil War, their authority abrogated.

After the death of Franco in 1975, the autonomy of Català revived and developed.

In 1979 a new statute of Catalonia autonomy issued, which restored the Catalon Parliament.

The ruling for the 135-member body held next year, on 20th March.

This region, which is one of Spain’s 17 “Autonomous Communities”, has its own police force. And has powers over matters such as education, healthcare and welfare.

There are also provisions for protecting Catalan identity including the status quo for Catalan and Castilean. And laws in which teachers, doctors and public sector employees need to use Catalan language in their workplaces.


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